We all know the importance and benefit of going to annual industry or career conferences. The two biggest benefits for me have been learning new things, ideas, approaches, and getting to meet in person people I have been impacted by. There are so many amazing people who I have met through my social marketing platforms and activities this past year.

My Blogtalk Radio Show has opened so many doors for me to feature and profile people who are doing really great things with their lives, careers and business. Authors, entrepreneurs, empowered women, career professionals, journalists all using social platforms to advance their causes, brands and benefits. Having the opportunity to share these people with my sphere has been so much fun!

As I prepare to attend my first Blogworld Expo this year, I am planning out what sessions, parties and people want to be at and meet. I was invited to a few hosted events by some of the people I will already be seeing out there!

It's really no different than any other in person networking event you attend, other than it's huge and the choices are expansive.

Here's 5 preparation tips I use to get the absolute most out of my big conference experiences!

1. Prepare yourself.

Make sure you are mentally and emotionally ready to interact with a large group at big events. This is not a small, intimate group. Get your persona ready to make a bold statement. How you look, what you say, how well you interact with groups or one on one. What do you want people to know about you, do you know everything you need to about the people you want to meet? You may have a minute or two with people. Prepare your short story pitch.

2. Choose the sessions that best serve your goals now.

Commit to the sessions that best advance your personal and business goals now. By just being in those sessions, you will meet other people who are there with similar goals. Go to sessions that can advance your learning, expertise and networking with the 'right' people.

3. Focus on How People Have Impacted You

When you get time with whoever it is you want to meet, lead with how they have helped or impacted you. Use specific examples. We all need that confirmation what we do is actually helping others. Knowing that is a huge motivational plus that drives us to keep going!

4. Have specific goals in mind.

Why do you want to meet certain people? Do you see possibilities for collaboration? Do you share complimentary niches? Would you like to be a guest blogging or invite them to be on yours? With limited time, having specific reasons and goals in mind can yield very effective results.

5. Timely follow up.

Follow up with a sincere thank you and outline any specific things discussed that need to be developed or attended to. Tweet, post and blog about your personal experience being at the sessions, networking and parties, and especially meeting them!

How do you prepare for big conferences? What are your best practices that maximize your networking?